Facebook cooperating in probe of France killing that was streamed 'live' on video

A frame grab taken from Reuters video footage taken June 14, 2016, from an online video posted by Larossi Abballa, the suspected attacker, who police and justice sources have named as the man who stabbed a police commander to death outside his home a
A frame grab taken from Reuters video footage taken June 14, 2016, from an online video posted by Larossi Abballa, the suspected attacker, who police and justice sources have named as the man who stabbed a police commander to death outside his home and later killed his partner on Monday in an attack in Magnanville, a suburb some 60km west of Paris and claimed by ISIS.PHOTO: REUTERS
Police commander Jean-Baptiste Salvaing and partner Jessica Schneider.
Police commander Jean-Baptiste Salvaing and partner Jessica Schneider. PHOTO: REUTERS

WASHINGTON (AFP) - Facebook said on Tuesday (June 14) it was cooperating with the French authorities probing the killing of a police commander and his partner in a live-streamed video on the leading social network.

"We are working closely with the French authorities as they deal with this terrible crime," Facebook said in a statement following Monday's fatal stabbing of 42-year-old police commander Jean-Baptiste Salvaing and his 36-year-old partner Jessica Schneider in a town near Paris.

"Terrorists and acts of terrorism have no place on Facebook. Whenever terrorist content is reported to us, we remove it as quickly as possible. We treat takedown requests by law enforcement with the highest urgency."

The assailant, a known radical claiming allegiance to the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS), was slain by police after the attack, but his video was posted on Facebook Live, a new feature that enables any user to stream a live event.

The incident posed a new challenge for Facebook and other social networks seeking to keep an open platform without allowing users to promote violence.

"We do understand and recognise that there are unique challenges when it comes to content and safety for Live videos," a Facebook spokesman said.

"It's a serious responsibility, and we work hard to strike the right balance between enabling expression while providing a safe and respectful experience. We're deeply committed to improving the effectiveness of how we handle reports of live content that violates our Community Standards."

Facebook, which has over 1.5 billion members worldwide, last year updated its so-called "community standards" to make clear it does not want the platform used to incite attacks or violence.

Other social networks have made similar efforts, but monitoring and policing the feeds is a difficult task, and the platforms are often unable to prevent sensitive content from being posted.

The stabbings came on the heels of a gunman claiming to be acting in the name of ISIS shot dead 49 people at a gay nightclub in Orlando, Florida, on Sunday in the worst mass shooting in US history.